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The new commemorative 50p coins are being made available to buy from www.royalmint.com in a range of precious metal and base proof finishes, with prices starting from £10 for a brilliant uncirculated coin and going up to £2,175 for a gold version. See more about them here. The new 50p denomination commemorative coin was designed by Dominique. Lush has launched a new “Bring it Back” plastic recycling scheme offering customers 50p for every container they return to store. The new scheme, which will run from Monday 1 February, will encourage customers to return full-sized plastic packaging from Lush to their local store.

The rarest 50p coins in circulation in the UK have been revealed by the Royal Mint ahead of the 50th anniversary of decimalisation.

One edition of the seven-sided coin, honouring Kew Gardens, is the most sought after with just 210,000 having been made, the Mint said.

The Mint has released new 50p coins to mark the anniversary of Decimal Day, when the UK ditched shillings, farthings and old pence for the new decimal system.

The transition to decimalisation took years of planning and also involved a huge information campaign.

New 50p

In 2019, more than 500 million coins were released into circulation, including three new 50p designs celebrating Arthur Conon Doyle's fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, and Paddington Bear at St Paul's Cathedral and the Tower of London.

The 50th anniversary of decimalisation is on February 15, with the changeover having inspired many people to become coin collectors over the years.

The Royal Mint's director of UK currency Mark Loveridge said: 'Coin collecting remains as popular as ever, and we were delighted to release a number of special designs into circulation in 2019.

'The Kew Gardens (50p) remains the most coveted coin, with a mintage of just 210,000, but it's always exciting to find a special design in your change.'

The rarest 50p coins in circulation

Here are the rarest 50p designs in circulation, with their year and the total minted, according to the Royal Mint:

  1. 2009 Kew Gardens, 210,000

  2. 2011 Olympic Wrestling, 1,129,500

  3. 2011 Olympic Football, 1,161,500

  4. 2011 Olympic Judo, 1,161,500

  5. 2011 Olympic Triathlon, 1,163,500

  6. 2018 Peter Rabbit, 1,400,000

  7. 2018 Flopsy Bunny, 1,400,000

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  8. 2011 Olympic Tennis, 1,454,000

  9. 2011 Olympic Goalball, 1,615,500

  10. 2011 Olympic Shooting, 1,656,500

The new commemorative 50p coins are being made available to buy from www.royalmint.com in a range of precious metal and base proof finishes, with prices starting from £10 for a brilliant uncirculated coin and going up to £2,175 for a gold version. See more about them here.

The new 50p denomination commemorative coin was designed by Dominique Evans.

She said: 'Even though people understood the reason for Decimal Day, they had and still have a fondness for the pre-decimal coins.

'Those pre-decimal coins can still be found all over the country, in random jumbles in boxes and drawers, which led me to place together the denominations as if you had just found them and were looking at them from above. The sweet wren peeks out from under the crown of a threepence, sitting alongside the rose of the sixpence - all below the iconic Britannia.'

A new 50p coin celebrating Sherlock Holmes has entered general circulation, meaning the great detective could pop up in your change at any point from now on.

If you do find the coin, which bears the deerstalker-and-pipe enthusiast’s silhouette, it could be worth more than face value.

But since the Royal Mint is yet to confirm how scarce the coin actually is, its true value would be a mystery for even Sherlock Holmes himself.

Read on to find out which rare 50ps are the most valuable, and how likely you are to be handed one at the till.


How much is the Sherlock Holmes 50p worth?

Earlier in May, multiple versions the Sherlock Holmes coin became available for purchase on the Royal Mint website to celebrate the 160th anniversary of author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s birth.

The design features the deerstalker-clad detective surrounded by the titles of some of his most famous stories.

The cheapest version was a brilliant uncirculated coin in a presentation pack, which is still available for £10.

Rarest 50p Coin

Other versions, including limited edition silver and gold proof coins, retailed at up to £795 each before they sold out.

These collector’s coins have since appeared on eBay, though they don’t always fetch a lot.

The out-of-stock silver proof version of the coin appears to have sold for around £85 – more than its £55 price from the Royal Mint. But it has also sold for close to £40, which is significantly less.

The brilliant uncirculated version sold for a maximum of £11.50 between 23 and 28 May – just £1.50 more than its retail value. This was an exception, as it most often sold for less.

New 50p

The circulated version of the coin, however, does have the potential to fetch big figures. But only if there aren’t too many of them.

Is the Sherlock Holmes 50p rare enough?

The most valuable circulated 50p at the moment is the 2009 Kew Gardens coin, which goes for upwards of £100 on eBay.

It’s worth so much because of its low mintage – only 210,000 entered circulation. In contrast, the 2016 Peter Rabbit coin was minted over 9 million times.

Mintage figures for the Sherlock Holmes 50p are unlikely to be available any time soon. But if it turns out to be similarly scarce, collectors could see Kew Gardens-level prices.

According to coin collection site Change Checker, the Kew Gardens 50p was overlooked for years until official mintage figures were revealed in 2014.

At the moment there is no way of knowing whether something similar will happen with the Sherlock Holmes coin.

If you do find it in your change, though, it might not be worth selling yet. Change Checker tells us that collectors would be unlikely to pay more for a circulation-quality Sherlock Holmes 50p than they would for the £10 brilliant uncirculated version, which is still available to purchase.

Which other rare 50ps should I look out for?

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The Royal Mint has already released at least four new commemorative 50ps coins and coin sets this year – one of them even commemorated other commemorative 50ps.

In March, the Mint released a Stephen Hawking 50p to celebrate the influential scientist, and a full-colour Peter Rabbit 50p – following the 2016 line of non-colour Beatrix Potter character coins.

More children’s literature was recognised when Julia Donaldson’s Gruffalo earned its own 50p in February.

The difference between these 50ps and the Sherlock Holmes 50p, however, is that none of them have entered circulation so far.

This means the only way you’ll find them in your change is if a collector accidentally spends one. For the most part, you’ll have to buy them online to add them to your collection.

There are, however, a number of rare 50ps which are in circulation that you could very well end up finding. Especially if you apply a Sherlockian level of focus.

After the Kew Gardens coin, the second-rarest 50p by mintage is 2017’s Sir Isaac Newton coin. The circulated version appears to have sold for a range of prices between £1.04 and £3.99 on eBay in the week leading up to this article.

New 50p

There are also a number of 2012 London Olympic Games coins that regularly sell above face value online. Some sports are more valuable than others, with the tongue-in-cheek football coin that ‘explains’ the offside rule often selling for the most.

It’s best to take eBay listings with a pinch of salt, however. Sellers can inflate prices by setting high starting bids, and could in theory manipulate the market by bidding on their own products.

Ultimately, a rare coin is only worth as much as a collector will pay for it. If you put your rare 50p on the market, you may not end up making money.

New 50p 2020

The Which? Money Podcast spoke to several coin collectors and the Royal Mint for an episode on rare coin collecting. You can listen to it here: